GELFAND’S WORLD - People keep asking whether Secret Service agents would have to go to prison with Donald Trump. It's not a totally illogical question, considering the 91 felony counts that Trump faces. Of course Trump keeps crowing that when he is reelected as President, he will deal with all the charges against himself, and as president, Georgia won't be able to touch him.
Still, the odds are that Trump would lose in a rerun against Joe Biden. This assertion is based, if nothing else, on the fact that Biden beat him the first time, and one-time losers historically don't do well in the very next election. Anybody remember Adlai Stevenson's nail-biting victory against Eisenhower in their second matchup? Didn't think so. Harold Stassen?
Trump is likely to continue to be the ex-president. He will continue to be at risk of conviction for Espionage Act felonies, for RICO offenses, for his attempt to overthrow the government of the United States and, of course, for the business fraud cases in New York state.
So what do you do about the quandary that you can't simultaneously imprison the former president and, at the same time, protect him in the prison environment? Even in a low security Federal prison, there would be other prisoners around.
There is a simple, inexpensive solution to this question. Let's build an executive jail.
It doesn't have to be lavish. It's a jail. And it would only have to provide one cell. But just in case there are any other top-level prisoners we need to incarcerate, let's enlarge the plans a little, to provide for maybe 3 or 4 cells. They would not be adjacent the way the usual jail and prison cells are. They would be well separated, perhaps even served by separate corridors and guards. But they would be real jail cells, built of steel and providing the usual amenities -- that is to say, not much.
There would also be office space and perhaps even sleeping quarters for the Secret Service and for medical personnel. But it won't be Mar a Lago or the Trump Tower, which have been the the most common suggestions for home confinement.
No. It will be jail.
If the government or the court system wants to save money, it could even take over an abandoned jail, or just borrow space in one isolated wing. And it can be anywhere in the U.S., although it would be most useful if it were somewhere in the area bounded by New York City and Washington, D.C. That's because those are the areas where Trump is most likely to be held in contempt by a trial judge.
The idea of buying or borrowing an old jail, or a small-town jail, is appealing. Notice that it wouldn't cost much to do the necessary remodeling. Just slap on a new coat of paint and do whatever electrical and plumbing repairs are found to be necessary, and voila -- we can apply the law to Donald Trump or to Rudi Giuliani as it is supposed to be applied. If Trump continues to make inflammatory statements intended to intimidate potential jurors, the federal court in D.C. can find him in contempt and throw him in the slammer.
We just need to have a slammer.
Addendum: Funding Ukraine
The patriotic Americans that I know are nearly universal in support of the Ukrainian people and their military defense. I don't know a lot of people who support the Russian aggression, the torture, the terrorism, or the continued occupation of territory that was theoretically released from Soviet bondage a number of years ago.
But there does seem to be one group, and it is the Republicans in the House of Representatives. I think there is one strong conclusion to be drawn. Those congressmen are in Trump's pocket, and Trump continues to be in Putin's back pocket.
(Bob Gelfand writes on science, culture, and politics for CityWatch. He can be reached at [email protected].)